Debrief:  The Future of Work & BYOEE

Author: Telecom Council of Silicon Valley

On July 10th, the Telecom Council collected around 50 telecom executives to discuss the future of work, and the implications advancements/changes have on the networks and supporting enterprises.

An expert panel of four was on hand to manage this unstructured discussion, driven by the audience.  The panelists included Sean Ginevan, the Director of Business Development at MobileIron; Paul DePond, the VP of Business Development at GLOBO; Robyn Bews, the Executive Director at WORKshift; and Amitabh Sinha, the Founder and CEO of WorkSpot. Audience participation included representatives from British Telecom, CableLabs, Sony, Huawei, Verizon, LG, Dell, NTT, Citrix, Deutsche Telekom, Softbank, and more (complete list here).

140715-BYOE Debrief

True to Telecom Council Roundtable Lunch style, we began the discussion by white boarding questions from the audience, which the moderator then used to manage the discussion with the panelists and meeting participants.  Throughout the room, the general consensus as this discussion began was that this initiative has already started, and it’s becoming more clear that we’re not trying to simply support employees working from home, but trying to support them away from their desks – the modern professional worker spends just as much time at meetings ‘on the road’ as they do working at their desk. As the next generation of workers matures into the work force, support away from the traditional set-up will become an expectation, not an added benefit.

It’s no longer BYOD, it’s BYOEE – Bring your own everything, everywhere.

Before we jumped into the progression and innovation in the space, there was debate on if promoting telework is a good idea at all.  Are staff working from home, or “working from home”?  Marissa Mayer was in hot water after pulling the work-from-home allowances at Yahoo.  Press seemed to turn a blind eye to the fact that the decision was backed by stats and measures showing that her staff wasn’t producing from home, heck, they weren’t even logging in.  Arguments in the room stated that the Yahoo situation was a cultural problem.  That management wasn’t properly managing workflow and expectations.  Statistics show that telework provides ROI, so why aren’t enterprises jumping in head-first?  A few answers from the room:

  • Building telework strategy is a hard sell – it takes time and money that IT doesn’t want to spend
  • Some enterprises have been running smaller experiments with telework, which haven’t been going well.  They don’t communicate the dos, don’ts, cans, and can’ts well, so staff don’t understand what IT will and won’t have control over on their devices. Case in point, 40% of people believe that if they use their personal device for work, their IT will have access to all their personal emails and data.
  • Historically, IT has been operating on the “just keep it working” mentality.  The culture will have to shift to more of an opportunity mentality.
  • Telework isn’t well defined.  Consider the example of green construction – Building A says their green simply because they have a recycling bin, but Building B next door has solar panels, recycled water, bamboo flooring, and electric car chargers.  Telework means different things to everyone.  Enterprises need a playbook.

UNDERSTANDING THE COST & BENEFITS:

  • Benefits include lower IT costs, productivity, expansion of the work day, environmental improvements, and balance (happier staff).
  • Robyn from Workshift pointed out that studies say that if all employees in Calgary (home of Workshift) worked from home one day a week, we can reduce emissions by the same amount as going to the moon and back 7 times.
  • The largest costs are security and UI.  Many in the room agreed that the right security for telework will operate much like the security on a credit card – it will run all the time and just send flags once in a while.
  • Measuring productivity when staff are offsite is more difficult.  There is a market need for new tools to measure more accurately, the efficiencies and output of staff while offsite.
  • Also included in the security debate is the concern of identity – user is not their device. System should be able to identify the user, and manage the device separately.  “I know it’s you, but I don’t like your jail-broken phone or dangerous app, so I’m declining your access.”
  • With BYOD, if a device breaks, people are more willing to try to fix it themselves.  If it’s a company device, they call IT before they even check the power cable.

REVIEWING GROWTH:

  • Derek Kerton, discussion moderator, pointed out the progression of telework:
    1st wave – BYOD
    2nd wave – Apps – Use my own apps (dropbox, etc)
    3rd wave – Cloud – Acknowledge the benefits & risks, and build to accommodate that
  • Sean from MobileIron pointed out that the decision to improve teleworking efficiencies will probably have to come from senior management.  The first rollout of BYOD came after local executives insisted on using their personal iPhones. He continued to explain that half of enterprises don’t have a mobile telework strategy. 50% of those who do have a strategy, say it doesn’t align to their broader business or IT strategy.
  • IT, HR, department heads, legal, and the end user all have needs which will need to be met in the right telework solution.
  • Samsung’s enterprise sandbox, Knox, kept making its way into the conversation.  Knox provides the user with multiple identities – work and personal.  Each have their own set of apps, allowances, permissions, etc.  It was noted that Google plans to include their own version of sandbox into Android.  This will probably become the lowest common denominator for IT telework management.
  • The way we work is fluid – it’s not from home and not from the office; it’s always, everywhere.  We’re going through a transition period until there are standard practices in place.

 

We welcome you to review the agenda and attendee list of the Roundtable Lunch: Telework.

To join our next Roundtable lunch, be sure you’re on our mailing list, and keep an eye on our meeting schedule.

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